Love Letter to Jennifer Lopez

BY: MARIAH ESPADA

Dear Jennifer Lopez,

Thank you for showing me, a young Puerto Rican girl from New York, that hard work can result in success.

Thank you for once so famously singing, "Don't be fooled by the rocks that I've got. I'm still (I'm still) Jenny from the Block. I used to have a little now I have a lot. No matter where I go I know where I came from – The Bronx!" Aside from the song's sick beat and killer music video, the catchy lyrics have always resonated with me. I'm not sure where I'm going, but like you, I'll never forget where I came from.  

Thank you for not only remembering where you are from but also repping the Bronx so hard in the process. For decades people have glamorized the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, but you have dared to be different and celebrate your urban roots. You make being from another NYC borough seem like a prize. After 18 years of experiencing the rich culture of Brooklyn I’ve learned that you’re right.

Thank you for so perfectly sharing Selena's story with the world. I am convinced that you were created to play that role and your ability to shake your hips to bidi-bidi-bom-bom proved it. The world fell in love with you in that movie. Your commendable career since then has made it clear that you were born to entertain.

There's nothing like a J-Lo rom-com. Thank you for blessing me with the best romantic comedy films a girl could ask for. From Maid in Manhattan to The Wedding Planner, you have given me the gift of early 2000 films that are hard to come by. The films that give you that warm, comforting, home-like feeling.

Thank you for blessing us with your fashion. Your ability to rock a Versace gown and an adidas tracksuit still blows my mind. I'm not sure how you do it, but time and time again you've been able to have stellar fashion moments in all music videos, red carpet events, films or more importantly, on your down time going to Target. Essentially you are outfit goals.

Thank you for showing us girls how far a little highlighter on the cheekbone goes. Your glam squad has perfected your face and the only explanation is they were created by the makeup Gods. You are the queen of the dewy look and my Instagram feed is forever grateful for it. Thank you, however, for showing us that you don't always need makeup. I live for your #NoMakeUpMondays. You show girls like me that while the highlighter can look bomb, it isn't everything. Confidence is.

Thank you for perfecting the slick back bun. Not many are as blessed to rock the up-do, but somehow you have magically finessed it.That is all.

Thank you for sharing your Boricua pride. You are an inspiration to the Hispanic community as you have shown us time and time again that we can make a large impact in a society that systematically benefits white people. You helped me realize that I can be a successful Latina if I put my mind to it. Que viva Puerto Rico!

Lastly, thank you for showing women that they can do it all. Your ability to be a mom all the while making your mark as an actress, singer and dancer is unheard of. You are beyond the triple threat-- you are an entrepreneur and a businesswoman. You have created and maintained a brand that is hard to ignore, and for that I admire you.

You are the real life Wonder Woman, except with way better shoes and a killer purse collection. I celebrate you and your women power.

Oh, and behalf of all women I must ask what fountain of youth are drinking from? Because everyone is dying to know how you have somehow defied the aging process and appear to be getting younger. Are you even human?

Again, thank you for being you – a strong, successful Latina.

With love,
Mariah

Cover:(Ana Carolina Kley Vita/Flickr